- The country has added another six online casino operators to its blacklist, which now totals 16 betting sites
- Stricter gambling laws have also hit land-based gambling facilities, as Bratislava also bans the practice
Last month, Slovakia initiated a blacklist of online casinos that were operating without a license in the county. It has now been reported that further names have been added to this list.
Online betting domains that operate remotely and without a license/prior government approval are deemed illegal in Slovakia, and thus, subsequently added to the country’s blacklist.
The original blacklist comprised 10 such ‘illegal’ gambling websites, including the likes of 888Holdings, Bet-at-Home, William Hill, Bet365, Eastsleepbet.com and Bwin, among others.
By the end of its first month, however, the list had grown to include a total of 16 blacklisted casino websites. Some news outlets have also mentioned that other countries – including Poland and the Czech Republic – are also banning specific online gambling sites.
Poland, in particular, has been proactive in doing so; the country has so far added nearly 900 online gambling websites to its own blacklist.
If an operator’s online betting website is added to the list, authorities in Slovakia request that they cease services within 10 days of being issued a warning. If they fail to do this, they will receive a judicial order and their websites will be blocked. They may also be ordered to pay a €500,000 fine.
Reactions to the blacklist
The majority of Slovakia’s internet service providers have said that they have no problem will blocking websites of this nature, but that they will need a judicial order to have been issued prior to doing so.
Some service providers – among which O2 is included – have not yet been advised on the legalities of blocking gambling websites.
A handful are also alleged to be frustrated over the government’s decision to impose on them more responsibilities without having arranged appropriate funding for their additional workload. However, Telekom and 02 have both pledged to carry out website blockings without extra government funding.
When the Slovakian government first announced that it would be enforcing new and stricter online gambling regulations, several operators did choose to leave the country’s market.
Under these recently introduced online casino laws, operators offering online sports betting are required to pay 27% tax on their total revenue from local bettors. Meanwhile, the TIPOS national lottery is still responsible for all web-based poker playing activity.
It is also worth noting that this stricter approach to gambling in the country expands beyond the Internet, with Bratislava – the capital of Slovakia – having banned gambling (not including services offering lottery games or sports betting shops) inside city limits.
That being said, land-based casinos and operators of slot game halls are still allowed to operate within the city until their licenses to do so expire.
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